Q&A with Visual Online

Today we have a Q&A with Visual Online. Visual Online caught our attention when they released a press announcement in January 2010 stating that they have started with testing IPv6 on their ADSL connections. Time to ask them a few questions!

Please tell us a little about Visual Online

Visual Online is a company that started its business in Luxembourg in 1996, back in the old days of dial-up Internet access. Since then, it has followed all the evolutions Internet has experienced by adding several services to its portfolio. In 2000 it became a subsidiary of the government-owned Entreprise des Postes et Télécommunications in Luxembourg.
Today Visual Online is one of the most renowned Internet and Voice over IP service providers in Luxembourg with its own international redundant backbone and Colocation infrastructure, operating Tier Level 2 and Tier Level 4 Datacenters, and distributing it through its Colocation-Center platform.
Visual Online is also a Domain name registrar for most of TLDs through its Dns-Stock platform.
For more information on our services please visit our website.

When and how did IPv6 began to be a part of Visual Online
Our first experiments on IPv6 started right after the Task Force IPv6 Luxembourg Meeting that took place on November 8, 2002. In that meeting, the most important Internet players in Luxembourg were present. Soon after that, we received our first IPv6 allocation on October 27, 2003.
In the first years only internal testing were performed. Later, we started offering IPv6 DNS services over our DNS-Stock platform. In January 2010, after different tests, we started to provide native IPv6 (dual-stack) connections to our broadband customers, being the first ISP in Luxembourg for that kind of offering.

What is the current status of IPv6 at Visual Online?
– IPv6 DNS services
– Native DSL broadband connections (dual stack)
– Our dedicated server customers receive their IPv6 prefix for free, in addition to their standard IPv4 addressing

It is important to note that Visual Online is currently providing to most of its broadband customers with IPv6-ready CPEs such as the AVM Fritz!Box 7570 and AVM Fritz!Box 7270 models. All of these customers may turn in the near future to IPv6, so we make sure today that they are ready for that tomorrow.

In what way do you expect to see IPv6 growth in the next couple of years for Visual Online?
The market will decide at what speed IPv6 will adopted. If more devices or applications arrive that would like to take advantage of the multitude of IP addresses that IPv6 brings to each user, then the adoption will be faster. We can expect though that the big manufacturers will jump into the IPv6 bandwagon only when this will be widely adopted by the public.
Nevertheless, we feel that, as an ISP today, we have to be ready to answer to the IPv6 demand if required. We notice however that the IPv6 content is still very rare on the Internet which we think is a major problem for the IPv6 roll out.
The private users will probably wait until the last minute to switch to IPv6 perhaps until they will be pushed by their need for a new product, or by their ISP! For the professionals there is more concern for the IPv6 adoption and they will surely be the first to take advantage of IPv6 addressing.

Are there any things you would like to say about IPv6 in general?
IPv6 is the next generation of the Internet Protocol, and will dramatically expand the number of addresses available for web sites, as well as millions of mobile devices with Internet access. Soon many people will discover it on their everyday’s life. Who has never thought about a fridge connected to the net that can take online orders for you according to what is missing inside? IPv6 can bring a world in which every home appliance can perfectly use his own IP address! A world were IP addresses are not rare commodity anymore.

We would like to thank Francisco Malpica for taking the time to answer our questions. And we wish Visual Online the best of luck!

Francisco Malpica

Irish IPv6 Summit 2010 Videos available

Five days ago the videos where posted from the Irish IPv6 Summit 2010 which was held on 19th May.

Its nice to see that some IPv6 Task Forces are making IPv6 information accessible to the masses, like hosting summits and making the videos publicly available.

Google IPv6 Implementors Conference 2010 – Video’s available

Google released the video’s of the “Google IPv6 Implementors Conference 2010”.

See the agenda for links to YouTube.

The strange behavior of Apple’s mDNSResponder

mDNSResponder, used for all DNS queries in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, has a strange behavior when it comes to query DNS records.
It will simultaneously ask for a A and a AAAA record when performing a DNS lookup but will be only using the first response and will reject any further responses with a “port unreachable”.

For example. You are using a dual stack client and want to browse to a dual stack website. The mDNSResponder will send a A and a AAAA request. The DNS server will respond to both queries but the client only uses the responds that it receives first. If for example the A record is received first you will be using a IPv4 connection even though you are dual stacked.

Stuart Cheshire gave a presentation on IPv6 adoption at the IETF 72 Technical Plenary. In that presentation he explains the motivation behind this double query.

Initially, from a end user perspective, it is a nice idea that could have its benefits, but if you look u bit further it has many downsides to it. Some are: Harder to debug on your network. DNS servers get twice as much queries. It will not work when your client is on a IPv6-only network and, even more troubling, if you only have a AAAA record the responds to the A record request will result in a NXDOMAIN and the client thinks the domain doesn’t exist.

So be aware of this behavior when working with MacOS X 10.6 (and perhaps other Apple products) and keep an eye on the bug report.

Opera 10.50 fixes IPv6 problem

A few hours ago Opera released the final of Opera 10.50. With this release Opera has fixed a big IPv6 problem.
In previous releases the Opera webbrowser unconditionally preferred IPv6 over IPv4, even if the IPv6 connection was for example a Terredo connection. With this new release Opera complies with RFC3484 and only prefers IPv6 if that connection is native.

The effect that this bug had has been made available by Tore Anderson by including 1×1 pixels over dual stack and IPv4-only on a high traffic website located in Norway. In his latest Februari report there is a IPv6 brokenis of 0.094% and if you exclude Opera it’s 0.029%. Reports are available for October, November, December, Januari and Februari.

Some websites, including Google, don’t offer a AAAA DNS record because of this small portion of customers (but many users if you are a large content provider) they would lose when introducing a AAAA record. Instead they offer something like ipv6.domain.com or in the case of Google set up a whitelist program.  Opera, like most browser, offers upgrades without intervention of the user so this new release should be adopted soon by Opera users. Let’s hope this will inspire content providers to include AAAA records without any limitations. The browsers are ready.

Thanks to Tore Anderson for making these reports available.

IPv6 status on top 20 Dutch websites

Joost Tholhuijsen has posted a nice article about the current IPv6 plans of the top 20 Dutch websites.
Only two sites (Google and Youtube) have there content enabled for the the new Internet protocol. The most websites that are in the top 20 are testing IPv6 or making preparation to do so. A few sites didn’t had any plans to deploy IPv6 or weren’t available for comment.

Read the full article (Dutch).